Main photo: Black Paddy and students at Strabane Academy hold up the various Advancing Race Equality Awards categories
SOCIAL media star ‘Black Paddy’ has been unveiled as the host of the North West Migrants Forum’s 2023 Advancing Race Equality Awards.
The Nigerian-born comedian – real name Fabio David – is an entertainer who, in his own words, ‘channels the African man in Europe’ through live performances and online videos.
By bringing his warm-hearted brand of fun to towns and cities all over Ireland Black Paddy has amassed a huge following including over half a million fans on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.
On Friday December 1 Black Paddy joined the North West Migrants Forum to tell young people why they should get involved in the Advancing Race Equality Awards.
The Migrants Forum visited three schools – Oakgrove Integrated Primary School and Nursery, Strabane Academy and Derry’s Model Primary School.
Speaking to secondary school students at Strabane Academy the online celebrity spoke of having ADHD, of his struggle with depression and how no one should ever feel embarrassed about asking for help.
“When I started getting famous on TikTok I didn’t know how to handle it,” he told the packed assembly hall.
“I found myself in quite a dark place until one day I said ‘That’s it, I’ve had enough’. So I spoke to my friend Paul and explained what I was going through and how I didn’t know what to do.
“From that moment I started taking little steps. When I spoke to Paul I started getting out of my comfort by going for a walk every evening. And believe me, at this time I might not have left the house for an entire month.
“I started walking and then I started going to the gym and working out. That led me back to myself and what I would ask you all here today to do is, if you find yourself in that same dark place please talk to your mum, talk to your dad, speak to your teacher or speak to your best friend. Never be afraid to open yourself out.
“I am here today because I want you to look and say ‘If he can do it, I can do it’.”
Looking ahead to the Advancing Race Equality Awards on March 7, Black Paddy said he was delighted to be able to support what are the only awards of their kind in Northern Ireland.
Director of the North West Migrants Forum, Lilian Seenoi Barr, said Black Paddy was the ideal partner for the Awards.
“When I first saw his videos on TikTok I knew straightaway he was the perfect fit for us.
“He has created this social media persona who entertains and makes people laugh. But he also uses his Black Paddy character to spread a message of love and that message reaches the eyes and ears of literally hundreds of thousands of young people.
“In today’s world that is exactly what we need and I am delighted that a friendship has developed between ourselves. I am really excited about the fact he has agreed to compere our Advancing Race Equality Awards on March 7.”
Tickets for the Advancing Race Equality Awards are on sale now. For full details go to the North West Migrants Forum website, http://www.nwmf.org.uk/awards.